U.S. - Cuba Politics: No Cruise Ships In Havana

When my friends in my home state of Arkansas ask me how I like living in Miami, I give them the same answer - I love it, because I have always wanted to live in a foreign country.

Cuba - Cruise Ship Miami is the melting pot of the Caribbean.  It is the number one place where immigrants from Cuba, Haiti, the Bahamas, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Belize and Columbia decide to live once they reach the U.S.  Miami is an exciting, international and great place to live.  More than 50% of the residents here are Hispanic. The dominant personality of the city is unquestionably Cuban - we have a Cuban Mayor, Cuban Judges, Cuban politicians, Cuban restaurant and shop owners. 

 The heart of our firm - our office manager - is 100% Cuban.

Most Cubans living in Miami live here because they were dispossessed from their native country in the early 1960's.  Not surprisingly, the most hated person in the world according to the people of Miami - is Fidel Castro.  However, people in Miami are questioning the blockade of Cuba which has existed for close to 50 years.

Yesterday the Guardian newspaper in the U.K.  ran an interesting article about ending the blockade - Time for the Cuban Travel Ban to Go.  The article cited a poll indicating that most Americans support easing travel restrictions to Cuba - Poll: Three-Quarters Favor Relations with Cuba

Part of the blockage involves the prohibition of U.S. based cruise ship sailing to Cuba.  So it was with interest I read an article, US Blockade Stops Cruises from Landing in Cuba," written by a Cuban reporter about the cruise industry and the effects of the ban against U.S. ported cruise ships sailing to Cuba.  Here is the article:

"Thousands of cruise ships sail the waters around Cuba every year, but few of them are able to anchor in the island because of the US economic, financial and commercial blockade.

Granma newspaper said the Torricelli Law approved by Washington sanctions ships from any country that dock in Cuban ports by banning them from putting in at the US for six months.

The Cuban daily comments that 98 % of Caribbean cruises are controlled by the American industry Cuba - Cruise Ship - Cruise to Cubaand 70 % of liners sailing in the region have Florida as mother port.

According to Granma, in 2006, when the American cruise company Royal Caribbean bought the Holiday Dream ship from the Spanish Pullmantur Cruceros, more than 50 crew members from Cuba were not allowed to work onboard anymore.

This way, Pullmantur Cruceros put an end to its contract with the Cuban company ARIES Transportes S.A. of the Ministry of Transportation, which had established that the Holiday Dream would make 52 stopovers every year in Havana and Varadero's harbours.

Cuba´s location, the conditions of its ports and hotels and the historical and cultural wealth of its people are winning cards for the development of the cruise industry of the island.

If the US blockade didn't exist, more than 1,000 cruise ships could land in the Cuban ports every year generating a traffic of 1,2 million passengers.

According to figures by the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association, Cuba would have an income of 125 million dollars a year."

 

Although the U.S. prevents cruise ships to sail to Cuba, there are German and British cruise ships which sail to the Cuban ports of Havana and Santiago.

Has anyone cruised to Cuba?  Do you have photos or video to share?  

 

Credit:  Escambray - Digital newspaper of Sancti Spiritus province, Cuba
 

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Comments (8) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
craig - October 21, 2010 10:20 AM

Ive cruised into Cuba on a boat - several times..with my dad and his sailing crew.

Loved the people, loved the facilities, never felt so safe. It is time to end this ridiculous ban on travel to Cuba.

Mark Gaouette - October 21, 2010 12:21 PM

A market research company estimated that in the first three years after the lifting
of the travel ban more than 750,000 American cruise passengers would visit
Havana and that that number would increase to at least 1.8 million passengers by
the end of the 10th year, depending on the size and number of the ships calling
on the island state. There is also a possibility that high-speed ferry service could
be established. But, given the fact that hotel services are not readily available in
Cuba, the only logical way to visit would be by cruise ship. Deploying cruise ships to Cuba would give the cruise lines leverage in attracting new customers and ease the crowding in other Caribbean ports, which during peak travel periods may be visited by up to five large cruise ships at one time.

The lack of infrastructure in Cuban ports would give the cruise lines an edge;
the majority of the new visitors would likely come by cruise ships, a prospect
that has excited the cruise lines tremendously. But it is likely that the cruise lines
would face new problems and challenges posed by Cuba. Unless the communist state was abolished altogether, policies aimed at allaying new national security concerns would likely be at the heart of any new relaxed travel regulations. The cruise lines would face new sources of traditional maritime threats, such as stowaways and drug and currency smugglers.

If cruise ships and ferries begin calling on Cuban ports and the communist regime
remains in place, the vessels may seem like promising avenues for desperate
Cuban refugees trying to stow away. Similarly, the cruise ships may be used by
Cubans living abroad to funnel cash or other contraband into Cuba. And the illegal
trade is likely to go the other way, as well. Allowing U.S. tourists to visit Cuba might please the American visitors, and the cruise lines may believe that it would benefit the Cuban people as well, but, in reality, opening Cuba up to tourism would cause greater hardship for the Cuban people as the regime cracked down, determined to limit U.S.
influence on their country. Only if Cuba were truly free could the threats to national security be truly mitigated.

Given the fact that Castro and his brother, Raul, appear unlikely to endorse the changes to the existing U.S. travel restrictions that would allow cruise ships to call on the island nation’s ports, the prospect of cruise line travel to Cuba remains a distant hope for the cruise lines, much as the hope of reaching America is a dream to so many desperate Cuban citizens. Allowing cruise ships to call on Cuban ports is likely to bring a corresponding increase in maritime threats not accounted for in the current legislation and additional security worries for the cruise lines.

Cdr. Mark Gaouette, author - "Cruising for Trouble"

David Reppert - October 22, 2010 7:16 AM

I've been to Cuba twice, not on a cruise ship, but with a church group with a religious travel license (one of a limited number of ways to travel to Cuba from the US). I agree with Craig's comment above - the people were incredibly friendly and welcoming. We had one afternoon on a beach, which was just beautiful. I'm strongly in favor of ending the travel ban.

Saleem Bokhari - October 22, 2010 9:46 AM

US should not get reactive with Cuba..rather US should tolerate and debate with CASTROs and Cuba on the issues which are of mutual nature. It would be pragmatic approach which will settle the controversial issues gradually. In fact it is rightly expected that Obama will do so.

Kris - November 1, 2010 1:14 PM

I would welcome more controlled cruise traffic to Cuba as a tourism person & it would create more jobs for Cubans. But I am afraid an over abundance of traffic will create too much pollution, crime and greed. It's a known fact that cruise stops don't always bring more money to a destination because the passengers eat on board the ship and don't shop alot! So they just create more traffic & mess throughout the city!Take in large amounts of free water & then pollute the surrounding waters! Ask the Alaskan towns they stop at?

David Maslow, the Vacation Getaway Guy - November 29, 2010 10:08 AM

Anytime tourism is involved in a small country, you risk the chance of greed coming along. It would help if the cruise lines made some formal agreement with the countries to donate a portion of the money they receive towards the country.


David Maslow
Vacation Getaways

Ginni McCann - May 2, 2012 3:35 AM

I agree wholeheartly that the travel ban by cruise ships should be lifted. I just returned in Feb 2012 from a two week excursion with Vantage out of Boston. It was a great trip and the embargo is a farce when you see all the new motorcoaches to travel on along with with the new cars and other countries that are trading with CUBA and reaping benfits that the USA could be doing when they are only 90 miles away. I am looking forward to returning to CUBA via a shipline in the future.

George - July 3, 2013 4:41 AM

I cruised to Cuba many years ago aboard the MV Odessa, a soviet ship. It was wonderful and showed that not everything negative that was being said about Cuba was accurate. The people were very friendly and helpful. Unfortunately, the Odessa is no longer in service and was ordered to leave the U.S. by President Reagan. Since then there have not been any Russian or Soviet cruise ships stopping or homeporting in the U.S.

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